Studio Art faculty member and alumna riel Sturchio (MFA in Studio Art, 2018), alongside their sibling Bianca, was shortlisted for the 2020 ICP / GOST First Photo Book Award. ICP / GOST announced that the 2020 winner is Léonard Pongo for the series The Uncanny. Sturchio was shortlisted among other photographers, including Jenica Heintzelman, Nura Qureshi, Ilona Szwarc and Cansu Yıldıran.
The ICP / GOST First Photo Book Award aims to promote and support the work of previously unpublished photographers and artists through the production of a first photo book by the ICP / GOST imprint. Sturchio's photo book, Chasing Light, is part of an ongoing project between Sturchio and their twin sibling, Bianca, utilizing photography to delve into complications of their respective non-normative identities and health-related challenges. "The photographs, shot on medium format film, capture the activities of daily living, intimate partners, personal spaces, family, and moments of joy, pain, and frustration. Bianca and riel strive to reject the ‘disability-as-inferior’ narrative and invite a perspective that considers disability and non-normativity as an extension of human body-variance, which possesses unique potential for creativity, growth, and adaptability."
Sturchio's recent work includes skin prints, a collaborative project initiated in 2014 and re-visited in 2020. The project offers a unique experience of bodily touch over distance and debuted during November's Austin Studio Tour. "As I re-engage with this project, its meanings have shifted due to the context of critical issues that affect us all; pandemic isolation, the need for universal healthcare, police brutality, and the Black Lives Matter movement," writes Sturchio. "Now more than ever bodies are without touch, and Black and Brown people are disproportionately endangered by police brutality and systemic racism.
"I am interested in taking the framework of Anthropocentric resilience to consider the taxonomy of the body as a way to promote shared understanding, and perspective through my collaborative project. skin prints offer an archival print of one’s body in direct relationship to the moment of its creation through the use of sticky material that documents the skin's surface. Through the production of a skin print the history of one’s skin, its scarring and deterioration is flattened and preserved as a monochromatic topography showcasing irrevocable bodily entropy. This work sheds light on the cyclical nature of life, a different way of grasping mortality, and a new ways of perceiving the unifying factors of humanity."